Over a decade ago I managed to get myself in my peak physical condition. Years of fatherhood and startup life had contributed to me getting out of shape, and one day I decided to do something about it. But what started as "just losing some weight" suddenly became a driving passion for me. I found myself going to the gym 6-7 days a week, doing a combination of high intensity training and weight lifting. Within 18 months, I was in the peak physical condition of my life. I had gained muscle mass, lost weight, and was able to run 9-10 miles on the road without feeling taxed. I had never felt better.
One day after returning from a workout, I found my nine year old son watching TV in the family room. A commercial was playing in which an Arnold Schwarzenegger-like body builder was promoting his new weight lifting machine. Jake looked at the TV and then back to me. "Do you lift weights?" he asked. "I do," I said proudly, "Every other day." Jake didn't seem satisfied with my answer though. He looked back to the body builder on the TV and then to me a couple more times. "Well, I think you might be doing something wrong." 😂 Yes I was in the peak physical condition of my life. But when compared by my nine year old to a body builder, it was like I wasn't going to the gym at all.
As a father, you can only laugh at the things your kids will say. But I think there is a deeper lesson in this story. You can almost always find someone stronger, bigger, faster, smarter, richer, and happier than you. Happiness does not come from comparing yourself to others. Happiness can only be measured from the inside.